“Woove at Newark Ohio 1840”

One of Robbins Hunter’s prize possessions was only one-half of an original object.  It was half of a red, white and blue jacquard coverlet with a corner block reading “Woove (sic) at Newark Ohio 1840.”  Hunter was an avid collector of early Ohio and especially anything from Licking County.  After all, his gravestone reads “I loved Licking County.”

This type of coverlet is named for Joseph Marie Jacquard, a Frenchman who invented the loom on which it was possible to weave these intricate designs.  The loom used a “punch card” and today many refer to his loom as the first computer.

The field of the coverlet is an overall floral design.  The border depicts city buildings including a church, a courthouse, and houses.  This bed cover would have originally consisted of two pieces, each about 40 inches wide, which were sewn together to make the cover wide enough to fit a bed.  Corner blocks on the bottom right and left display the historical inscription. As time moved on and the coverlets were replaced in style with quilts and eventually chenille bedspreads, the old jacquards with their history marking corner blocks became family heirlooms.  In many families, the coverlet was taken apart with one half given to one heir and the other half to a different heir.  So Hunter was not surprised that he only was able to purchase one half.

Then the unexpected happened.  One day a letter arrived in the mail from San Jose, California.  The writer enclosed a photo of one half of a coverlet, with the corner block “Woove at Newark Ohio 1840.”  Knowing that Hunter was an antique dealer, she wondered if he would be interested in purchasing her half.  Imagine his great delight, even amazement! 

Today, you may visit the museum’s “Treasures of the Collection” exhibit and see first hand, this miracle of miracles.

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